Meatball Sub Casserole

Like most people, I love a good meatball sub. Little balls of yummy goodness covered in marinara and melted cheese on a warm sub roll. MMMM… It doesn’t get much better than that. Sometimes you toast them, sometimes you steam them. It really depends on which part of the county you are from. Whichever you prefer nothing beats this sandwich when you have a craving for zesty goodness. This time around we are going to back them. Yes, I said bake them, and in a casserole no less. This is a great recipe for a family that doesn’t want to go to the trouble of making a bunch of individual subs for everyone. Now you can make one big one and cut it up for everyone to enjoy.

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Here’s how you do it.

What you need

1lb lean ground beef

1lb hot Italian sausage

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 small white onion (half finely chopped, half sliced)

1 small bell pepper (thinly sliced)

2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp granulated garlic

1 cup grated Parmesan

2 tbsp crushed red pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

2 Pillsbury french bread tubes

8 oz fresh mozzarella  (the little balls packed in water work great)

1 24 oz jar of marinara sauce ( I used Rao’s Marinara)

Prep and cooking.

This recipe is a little involved but the results are pretty amazing.

Note. You can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them to use later.

Making the meatballs

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Thoroughly mix the ground beef, Italian sausage, bread crumbs, eggs, chopped onions, salt, pepper and garlic together in a large mixing bowl. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with non stick cooking spray. This will help the meatballs not stick to the baking sheet. Now roll out the meatballs into small little balls about an inch and half around. You don’t want them too big because it is harder to get them cooked through properly, but you don’t want them too small either or they dry out easily. Once you have all of the mixture rolled out into little meatballs place them in a preheated (to 35o degrees) oven and bake for 20 minutes. You want them to start getting nice and brown on top.

Garlic Onions and Peppers

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While the meatballs are baking you can prep the onions, peppers and garlic. You want to saute them using the olive oil in a medium size pan over medium high heat. Saute them until the onions start to turn translucent. Set aside.

Assembling the casserole.

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Coat a large casserole dish with non stick cooking spray. Unroll one of the tubes of french bread and line the bottom of the dish. you want to cover the entire bottom. Now start placing the meatballs in a single layer on top of the bread. You can put them as close together as you like. Its really up to you how many you want in it. Next start placing the mozzarella in between the meatballs. You want to make sure you get them nice and evenly spaced throughout the meatballs so when they melt every bite will have some. Next you want to take the onions, peppers and garlic and spread it out evenly on top of the meatballs and mozzarella. Once that is done pour out the entire jar of marinara sauce and cover everything. Now take half of the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle evenly on top. Once that is all put together it is time to add the top layer of bread, roll out the second french bread and cover the top completely. For the final touch sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese and the red pepper flakes on top and cover with aluminum foil and place it in the center of a preheated (350 degrees) oven. Bake it for 30 minutes covered then another 15 uncovered to get a nice brown on the top.

And there you have it. Make several cuts all the way through to get individual servings and enjoy.

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Thanks for reading,

JMW

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A new Year after a Holiday Scramble

Hello everyone. I am back for another great year of fun and food. I hope that you all had a great holiday season and are ready to get back into the swing of things.

I was on vacation over the Christmas break and I was faced with an unusual challenge while staying with my In-laws. What kind of challenge could this be you ask? No, it’s not the usual challenges people face when staying with In-laws because mine are great people and easy to get along with. I am very lucky in that respect.¬† It would instead be what to make for breakfast in a kitchen that is not really set up to be functional but more decorative and does not really have any two items that go together in the fridge. I love my in laws to death but they live very different lives in regards to food and don’t really have the variety in the fridge that I am used to. So like a contestant on Top Chef heading into a difficult quick fire challenge I started scouring the kitchen to see what I might be able to come up with. Trust me on this, it was no easy task.

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After digging through the fridge, pantry, cabinets and drawers and looking under several rocks, here is what I was able to come up with.

Ingredients

Eggs

Frozen Tater Tots

Frozen chopped onion

Sliced vegetarian cheese

Frozen Italian Meatballs

Black Pepper

Salt

Rubbed sage

Butter

I know that you just read that I thought to yourself “Maybe a couple of those items work together but certainly not all of them”. Well my brain made sense out of them and came up with something that was filling and quite delicious. Everyone involved was pleasantly surprised.

I started out by melting butter in a non stick pan and adding in the frozen onions and tater tots. My plan was to make a rough version of home fries/hashbrowns. While those were heating up I thawed out a couple of meatballs to test and see if I could do anything with them. They ended up being quite bland and I was about to toss the idea of using them when I remembered seeing rubbed sage in the pantry. Now is where the brain juices kicked in. I decided to thaw out a few more meatballs and chop them up into small pieces and toss them into the pan to brown. I started adding black pepper, salt and rubbed sage and to my surprise it started smelling like breakfast sausage. I know that some of you probably saw this coming, seeing as how sage is a component of most breakfast sausages but I was still very happy at how it was all coming together. By now the “sausage” has started to brown and crisp up and the tater tots have broken into smaller hashbrown like pieces. I added a little more sage and then stirred in the eggs that I had whisked up and ready to scramble. When the eggs were about done I added a piece of the vegetarian cheese and melted it through the entire scramble, just for a little extra consistency.

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I will admit to being pretty skeptical about trying this but I am so glad I did. The meal turned out great and if you had not known what was in it you would have sworn it was a breakfast sausage and egg scramble.  Keep this in mind that next time you are looking in your fridge and think to yourself that you have nothing to make. With a little thought and maybe even a little inspiration from MacGyver you never know what you can come up with.

Thanks for Reading

JMW